SANTA CLARA, Calif. — "In a world where the display is on your glasses and the computer is in your pocket, you want your accelerometers on your fingertips. That way, you've got your keyboard, mouse, and air guitar whenever you want them."
This is no overcaffeinated comment heard in a Silicon Valley café. It's the goal of Kris Pister, a Berkeley professor who helped pioneer the Internet of Things and is now trying to pack a node on a chip -- and a fingertip.
Pister will keynote the IoT Engineering Summit at EE Live! in San Jose with a talk on Wednesday, April 2 at 10:45am. It is the first of ten sessions on IoT over two days at the event.
The node Pister dreams of is a true system on a chip. It includes not just the microcontroller and radio, but also the sensors, the antenna, the crystals, and even a solar power source. "You just put it in the light, and it starts connecting with its neighbors," Pister told an audience at a 2013 event. In fact, the device could have a variety of energy-scavaging blocks that tap into thermal, motion, and RF sources. It might even use a relatively high-bandwidth 60 GHz radio over very short ranges.
The technology for the integrated mote is still three to five years off, he said. It requires a laundry list of MEMS advances -- perhaps emerging techniques to replace crystals with reference time and frequency from the Net and more silicon miniaturization.
Berkeley's Gina is a step toward a node on a chip.
The Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center, where Pister works, currently makes prototype devices "the size of big, ugly college rings," he said. "I am certain we will have single-chip nodes. We are very close."